HOIMA. Several fishermen in Hoima district are counting losses after being robbed by suspected Congolese soldiers on Lake Albert. The Congolese soldiers are reported to have invaded Lake Albert waters on Friday and Saturday last week and made off with fishing gear worth over Shillings 100 Million.
Geoffrey Kumakech, the Buseruka Sub county LC V councilor said that the Congolese raided Kaiso, Kijangi, Mbegu Kiryamboga and Fofo landing sites, all in Tonya parish, Buseruka Sub County. They reportedly robbed seven boat Engines, Five boats, Fishing nets, hooks and batteries among others.
He only identifies some of the affected fishermen as Eler, Aruwa, Kyemo Racham and Mazembe. He says after robbing the fishing gear, the attackers took off to Jo landing site in Ituri province in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
He says it has become common for Congolese soldiers to invade and attack Ugandan fishermen on Lake Albert waters and then charge the fishermen to recover their property.
According to Kumakech, to recover a boat Engine, the fishermen have to pay between US$ 600 and 800 while a set of fishing nets costs between US$ 300 to 400 , which is costly. He calls upon security on the Ugandan side to intensify day and night patrols on the lake to ensure the safety of Ugandan fishermen.
Julius Allan Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police spokesperson, says they will partner with sister security agencies in the region to intensify operations on the lake. He says they are investigating circumstances under which the Congolese armed soldiers continuously attack Ugandan fishermen.
In December 2017, Congolese soldiers abducted six Ugandan fishermen and took them to Jo landing site in Ituri province in DR Congo.
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They were rescued when a team of Ugandan officials led by Geoffrey Kumakech, the Buseruka Sub county LC5 Councilor met Congolese government officials in Jo. The Congolese soldiers accuse Ugandan fishermen of fishing in their territory.